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G-P Palatka Tissue Mill Fire Injures Three

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According to a recent report by the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., USA, one employee and two firefighters were injured during the battle to extinguish an "intensely smoky fire" July 20 at Georgia-Pacific’s tissue mill in Palatka, Fla. Most of the 2 million-sq.-ft. mill was back in operation the next day after firefighters from Putnam and Clay County as well as Palatka fought there for hours.
The fire was reported just before 5 p.m. as about 350 of the plant’s total 850-person workforce was on duty, G-P spokesman Terry Hadaway said.
"We take the fires very, very seriously because the potential is there and we respond quickly and make sure our people are trained. You cannot take chances," Hadaway said. "It was the equipment associated with a beater. That was where the heat source was. It created the smoke and took a good many resources to find the source, which is why we had that many departments responding."
Nine area volunteer fire departments joined the Putnam and Clay county firefighting efforts, facing heavy smoke and low visibility for almost five hours before the first units were sent home. The two firefighters taken to the hospital suffered from overheating and were treated and released. The injured employee received some stitches and was also treated and released, Hadaway said.
Hadaway said two of its paper machines and other equipment were shut down during firefighting operations. The Palata mill makes bath tissue and paper towels.

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